Dear Mount Madonna School Families,
As Head of Mount Madonna School (MMS), it is my distinct pleasure to welcome our students and families for a year of creative, intellectual and ethical growth. We have a dedicated and passionate faculty and staff, who are committed to supporting the academic, social and emotional growth of your children.
In addition to relaxing and recharging their “batteries,” faculty spent the summer planning meaningful learning experiences to spark students’ curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. They strive to create an environment where students have agency over their learning and engage in authentic and challenging problems and solution-oriented thinking. Our program is intentionally designed in a developmentally appropriate way to foster critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity and other 21st century skills and habits of mind which students need to thrive in this complex, rapidly changing world. During our faculty and staff retreat next week, we will focus on enhancing the school’s inclusive and supportive learning environment and the academic program to nurture what is finest in students.
COVID-19 Protocols for 2021-22
Over the summer, the administration and staff have spent time refining and creating COVID-19 protocols. The goals of the COVID-19 protocols are to maintain in-person learning and to safeguard the school community by actively screening for COVID-19, minimizing in-school transmission. MMS’ COVID-19 policies and procedures comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
Daily Symptom Screening: Each morning, families will receive an email from SwiftK12 with a Symptom and Exposure Screening reminder. We request that all families complete the self check before arriving on campus. This year there is no form to complete before arriving at school. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting and diarrhea. Students who display symptoms or are sick should not attend school. If your child presents symptoms of COVID-19 or any illness, we encourage you to reach out to your healthcare provider.
Ingress and Egress: Preschool, kindergarten and elementary families will enter campus at the Mount Madonna Center gate (445 Summit Road), while middle and high school students will enter campus at the Hawks’ Nest Gym gate (3rd gate, just beyond the 491 Summit Road entrance). All passengers on the school buses or any school vehicle must wear masks. While there are no physical distancing requirements between students seated on the school bus, we strive to maximize the distance between students. Two windows on a school bus will be opened fully at a minimum. We encourage students to dress in layers so they are comfortable on the school bus. MMS will continue to clean buses daily using an electrostatic sprayer with EPA-approved disinfectant products.
Masking: All members of the school community will wear well-fitting masks indoors at all times and outdoors, when the level of community transmission is substantial or high. To assess the level of community transmission in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties, MMS will use the CDC COVID-19 Data tracker. Masks must fully cover the nose and mouth, and they may not have exhalation valves or vents which could potentially allow virus particles to escape. Children in the preschool and the kindergarten who are napping are not required to wear a mask.
Healthy Environment: To maintain a healthy environment, faculty will teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices. All students have access to soap and water, disposable wipes, and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned regularly. MMS will optimize ventilation with outdoor air by leaving windows and doors open. To further enhance ventilation, we have invested in portable HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration units. The HEPA filtration units are located in all classrooms and offices.
Eating at School: All students will eat outdoors. The snackbar at the upper campus will be reopening this year and food will be available for purchase. One of the exciting things for upper elementary students is eating at the snackbar. On Thursdays, students in grades three through five may purchase lunch or a snack at the snackbar.
On-Site COVID-19 Testing
The Delta Variant of SARS-CoV-2 has contributed to a recent increase in the number of positive cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals within the surrounding counties. The California and federal governments invested substantially in testing infrastructure to support in-person learning, and MMS enrolled in two programs offering free COVID-19 testing. We encourage parents to register and sign the consent form for both programs.
- We are partnering with Inspire Diagnostics to conduct weekly, on-site PCR screening tests. Families who want to participate need to fill out this form. When you click on the link, please navigate to the Student/Staff Registration. Click on the drop down menu for “School District” and select “Private School.” Fill out the form with your student’s information and have either your insurance card or a driver license handy. Your student will be given a QR badge for testing at school.
- Trained and certified MMS employees will administer COVID-19 testing in the event that an individual presents symptoms while on campus, an individual has been exposed to COVID-19, and to maintain in-person learning for unvaccinated students during a 10-day modified quarantine (please see Quarantine after in-school exposure with a mask section below). Click here to register and sign the Primary Health Consent form. The completion of the consent form constitutes your authorization for your student to undergo COVID-19 testing at MMS by trained and certified MMS employees.
The on-site testing programs are designed to detect and minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in our school community thus supporting our students to remain at school for in-person learning.
Isolation: Students or staff with COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate. If symptoms occur at school, students will be kept in an isolation room until they are picked up by their caregivers. Prior to returning to school:
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
- Other symptoms have improved; and
- They have a negative test for SARS-CoV-2, OR a healthcare provider has provided documentation that the symptoms are typical of an underlying chronic condition (e.g., allergies or asthma) OR a healthcare provider has confirmed an alternative diagnosis, OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset.
Quarantine after in-school exposure without a mask: Fully vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic need not quarantine after exposure. Unvaccinated individuals who are exposed where at least one party is not wearing a mask, (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet) to someone who is COVID-19 positive must quarantine for 10 days. COVID-19 testing is recommended 5 days from last exposure. Quarantine for asymptomatic unvaccinated individuals can end after day 7, if a PCR test collected after day 5 from the date of last exposure confirms a negative result. Asymptomatic close contacts must continue to self-monitor for symptoms through day 14 from the last known exposure.
MMS considers people fully vaccinated if it is:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (such as Moderna or Pfizer)
- 2 weeks after a single dose vaccine (such as Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine)
Quarantine after in-school exposure with a mask: When there is an exposure (more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 0-6 feet) where both parties were wearing a mask. Unvaccinated students may undergo a modified 10-day quarantine and continue to attend school if they:
- are asymptomatic;
- continue to appropriately mask indoors and outdoors;
- undergo at least twice weekly testing during the 10-day quarantine; and
During quarantine or modified quarantine, students will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities at school, including sports, and activities within the community setting.
MMS will offer COVID-19 testing on site for exposed unvaccinated students who are asymptomatic and these students can undergo testing twice weekly to continue attending school in-person. MMS will use the BinaxNow antigen test or CUE test.
MMS is committed to being nimble so our students can have a productive year of learning with friends and a caring and supportive community.
Ann Goewert, Ph.D.
Head of School
Mount Madonna School